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glen999
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B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Hi, I would like to ask for your opinion on the setup below:
B&W 603 S3 (USD1050)
ARCAM CD73 (USD600)
ARCAM A80 (USD1050)

or should i replace the AMP and player with ARKAM SOLO?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

If you could hear the difference you would be a better man than me. This should sound very nice. I'm sure you will use a decent connect between the sources and the amp. Enjoy. Do not fret about what you might NOT be hearing. This will bring you great enjoyment. Work on good speaker placement for room interaction.

I think Stereophile test disc 2 has some test tones for you to hear how low your speakers go based on room placement. On the cheap you can also play white or pink noise and record it into a computer and using just an inexpensive mic mixer (Yamaha 10/4 $99) and behringer ECM 8000 omni mic ($49)(try and borrow if you can) can record from your preferred listening position a one minute play back of the noise and look at in on a wave form editor under freq analysis and see if you have any major "peaks for valleys".
This is strickly room EQ on the cheap.

Monty
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

On the really cheap, you can snag a $40, Radio Shack, Sound Pressure Meter and use Stereophile's, Test CD 3 signals to chart your own graph as to frequency response within your room and speaker positioning.

I know you already know this, Jim, but some of the other guys may not.

glen999
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Thanx for the advice.

This will be my first time purchase.

One of my friends commented that I can replace with a cheaper CD player to save some money as he said that expensive and cheap player doesn't make much difference. Do you agree or recommend?

Monty
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

I do not agree with your friend. However, if you do opt for an inexpensive player you can try some better players in your system after you become intimately familiar with your sound. At least you won't be risking much money ditching a $79 player should you later upgrade to a quality player.

Becoming very familiar with your system and various recordings is the only way to accurately evaluate which components offer superior sound to your ears. This is probably way more important than people realize. Things are easily overlooked that later reveal themselves when you don't use recordings that you know extremely well on gear that you have listened to for a very long time.

The gear you are considering is quality stuff, so rest assured you have the basis for a lot of enjoyment.

glen999
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

thnax. I think i will go ahead for the purchase.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

The problem with the Radio Shack meter is accuracy and being 3-6db off in measuring freqs is not going to really allow you KNOW what your speakers and room are really outputing. It is cheap and might work out for you.

Monty
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

If Radio Shack's manual is to be believed, the SPL meter is accurate to within +/-3db from 32HZ to 10K. That's good enough for the girls I go out with.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

My experience and that of others says it ain't so. It is why I have been using a measurement mic ever since.

glen999
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Hi Monty,

You disagreed that cheaper CD player and expensive CD player made no difference. May i know what the difference is?

My friend said that cheaper CD player sent the digital data to AMP like the expensive CD player. So, no point to buy ARCAM CD73.

I'm new. just would like to learn.
Thank you.

Monty
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Your friend is probably not in the minority when it comes to concluding that there aren't any appreciable differences in CD players. Most people, including many audiophiles on these boards, use inexpensive CD sources or combo players in their systems.

CD players are prone to all the opportunities to degrade the signal as any other component. Just as some amplifiers fall short in resolution, so do some CD players. Just as some amplifiers can add an annoying graininess to the signal, so can CD players. Just as some amplifiers can constrict the soundstage, so can some CD players...and so on and so on.

What degree of importance each person places in satisfactory reproduction of sound will differ from person to person and even from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The only person that matters, though, is you. Rather than take my word for it, satisfy yourself that what you are buying is giving you perceived value.

As I mentioned in the above post, you risk very little money in buying an inexpensive player and can always introduce higher quality players in your system on a trial baisis to see if the sound difference is providing you with value. You just might find that your appreciation for audio is a learning process that doesn't reveal itself until you have established a base-line for comparison.

The only ears that matter are your own.

Anthony Tam
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

CD player isn't sending digital data to the amp.

It has to go through a digital to analog converter (DAC) before a pre- or integrated amp receives a useable analog line-level signal.

The quality of the DAC is an important consideration. As is the design of the transport, the quality of the analog output stage, etc.

glen999
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Hi Tevo,

Below is the comment from other forumer:

**************************************

1) laser/drive pickup mechanism

most (if not all) audio CD-players uses direct pick-up mechanism interestingly,(instead of adding error-correction) thats why low quality CD matters in audio players (especially in the olden days, now not too sure).

these are usually controlled by a some standard IC chip plus some standard drive mechaism and laser component.

However, if i tell u the cheap CD-ROM drive in your PC is the best pickup compared to even the most expensive CD-player, would u believe?

the truth is, this is the fact :

when you rip your CD-ROM using the free iTunes using

lossless AAC(or wav) format with error-correction enabled,

you have the perhaps the best pickup mechanism on the planet.

2) Digital-to-analog convertor

The most important component in the CD-player,

now just a matter of a few dollar IC chip.

The best in the world, if not one of the best) is the brand:

burrbrown (used in denon cdplayer)

*******************************************

comment?

Anthony Tam
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

If one does not believe or cannot hear the differences in the quality and design, from power supply through the analog output stages, than so be it.

All I know is, given a system with good resolution, I can hear differences between CD players. With some components, these are significant. With others, they may be small. You may wish to look at the thread in the "Rants & Raves" sub-forum, there was a post about what % should be spent on each component in a system.

It's why I decided to add a Musical Fidelity X-DACV3 DAC and X-10V3 tube buffer along with their X-PSUV3 power supply to my "entry level" NAD C542 CDP.

Using A-B comparison, in my system, there was a noticeable difference before/after adding these components. Ditto when I tried a Quad 99 CD-P.

Whatever the case may be with your other forum or yourself, all I can say is listen and decide for yourself.

Jeff Wong
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

Glen - The simple answer is there are no simple answers. Some people are making good arguments for computers being great sources, but, I believe this has more to do with using the hard drive as the source and buffering in memory to cut down or eliminate jitter. Good CD playback isn't just about reading data and sending it on its way to the rest of your system. There are many factors involved. One of these factors is jitter. Maybe the best way to describe this is it's a timing error. Imagine the sampled bits of data reproducing a waveform... picture it like the dots drawn on a musical staff. You can have the dots drawn exactly on the lines of the staff, but, if you were to vary the distance of those dots/notes from left to right in the time domain, on playback, it would sound different than if they were spaced evenly left to right. So, even though the amplitude is correct, the info from left to right doesn't match. With digital, the right amplitude at the wrong time is the wrong note.

Another aspect might be power supply regulation, which could affect how much noise is getting into the signal. A better player might have greater capacitance, higher quality caps, soft recovery Schottky diodes...

A cheaper CD player might use a 59 cent op amp like an NE5532 or TL072 with relatively low slew rates. These cheap op amps help keep costs down when mass producing hundreds of thousands of these things for sale at Circuit City. A specialty audio company that is producing higher quality products at a higher premium might be willing to use a 3 dollar op amp like a Burr Brown 2132 with better specs. I've improved the sound of CD players, DACs, and integrated amps just by substituting better op amps... it's nothing for me to pop something in 6x the cost of a cheap op amp just for my own purposes, but, that kind of expenditure may not be feasible when dealing with thousands of units.

A better player might also have a better chassis, which will reduce harmful vibrations that could affect the sound.

Perhaps, the best advice is to get a cheap player and get used to the sound, so that when you introduce a better one into your system, you'll appreciate the change more. I doubt you'd be going wrong with buying the Arcam, though.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: B&W 603 S3 + ARCAM A80 + ARCAM CD73

My wifes take on CD players:

Diane is not and audiophile, but does enjoy good music and good sound. I have had a number of great players in my home and not so great as well. Going from $50 DVD players masquerading as CD players up to the $1800 Cairn Fog and the $2600 Audio Analogue Maestro which has digital IN and is an excellent player as is the Stereophile rated Cairn.

In head to head test for my wife I asked her to describe and pick which player she would listen to most of the time regardless of price. I included the Music Hall 25 (old model), my Jolida JD100 tube player, and an older sony ES player I had.

She liked the Music Hall over the Sony ES. Now it got tougher. She liked the Jolida, Cairn, and the Audio Analogue equally as well, depending upon the style of music and the overall sound of the mix. Going from $900, to $1800, to the AA for $2600. These sonic difference going to the better players was easy. She ended up landing on the Jolida most of the time.

There were times I liked both the AA and the Cairn with ever so slightly more detail, but again it depended upon the music performance. We still have the Jolida.

A bad CD player can ruin all you have accomplished in purchasing electronics and speakers. Speakers are always the weakest link, but can never perform up to their potential with a sorry CD player...garbage in-garbage out! It is that simple.

You computer can be a good source with the likes of an RME or Digital Audio Labs Card Delux sound card. Anything less and you are just kidding yourself. Plus the noise in your computer's power supply is much noisier than in any CD player.

Your saving grace is that if you buy the wrong cd player you can always buy an upgraded outboard DAC later on. As long as it reclocks the data stream you will be OK. JA has even remarked that his older DVD player (A10?) was not as good a transport as he had hoped.

Listen long and listen hard before you buy. It will be worth it in the end. Even if you initially buy the good, new Music Hall 25.2 player there are mods being done to take it to the next level by the likes of www.underwoodhifi.com . That is worth checking out.

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